Quat: I found Yami. She's begun working on another fic. *sigh*
Kai: She won't be back? *celebrates*
Quat: Oh, she'll be back. She's just taking a break.
Kai & Heero: Dommage!
Quat: Don't let her hear you say that.
Yami: Too late.
Kai: Oh, crap.
Yami: I'm not gonna kill you. *leaves*
Heero: I want what she's taking.
Quat: *rolls eyes* We don't own anything.
Duo checked his email one last time before they left on their mission. To his surprise, he had a message from one firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Duo, I can't be on long, since I'm being watched. I've been brainwashed by SAM, and so has Garrett. I resisted somehow, don't ask me how. Please, don't come after me. Our mission is to draw SAM forces to your base by allowing ourselves to be captured. I know you are the good guys, though I haven't been able to convince Garrett. I would still like to meet, however. James is taking us to the mall on the weekend to play games. I'll be there. Garrett won't come with, though I suspect he'll be watching me. Keep a low profile, willya? That way, you're not killed. I've got to go. I'm writing from the library computer because they've got a bug in mine.
"I guess the perfect soldier must rise again, ne? Sincerely, Pilot 01."
Duo reread it out loud to the other pilots. "This was sent yesterday. That means he'll be at the mall today, since its Saturday."
"How do you know it isn't a trap?" Quatre asked.
"The mall is a public place, and SAM doesn't want its presence known to the public yet. So if they try something, it has the risk of several hundred eyewitnesses. He's smart." Duo grabbed a small gun and hid it safely away. "I'm going, and there's nothing you can do to stop me." He was out if the room before there could be any protests.
Heero saw Duo before the braided teen saw him. He beat his current game and joined Duo in a racing game.
"I'm glad you came," Heero whispered.
"What happened to you?"
"SAM claims you brainwashed me. I know you're gonna claim they brainwashed me. Which one do you think I believe?"
"I don't know who to believe. I've decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. I found a DVD in my player that explained a lot of things. Sort of."
Duo related what he knew of Heero's story to him. "We can undo the brainwashing. We can set up at one of Quatre's safe houses. That way, you're not completing your mission."
"To lead SAM to your base. OK. Where is it?"
Heero left, following Duo out to a car. "When we first thought you were brainwashed, we set up a anti-brainwasher in the nearest safe house," Duo explained. "It's brand-new. Never been tested, either. Guess who's the guinea pig?"
"If it's fatal I'll kill you," Heero muttered under his breath. Duo laughed out loud.
"I'm glad you can still joke. Although, to be honest, you never, ever joked before. It's refreshing."
The ride to New Roads was uneventful, for the most part. They had to take a roundabout route because someone was tailing them.
Quatre was waiting at the door. He led them to the basement, where the other two pilots waited.
The anti-brainwasher was nothing special, just a drug designed to counteract the brainwashing drug used by SAM.
Heero was connected to an IV and had to wait for the drug to kick in. The other pilots left him alone, although he could hear them upstairs. Duo had pulled a prank and was being chased around by a homicidal Wufei.
That's just like them, he thought with a grin. The drug seemed to be working. He was beginning to remember things.
He was outside, a detonator in his had. The enemy stronghold had exploded, but he watched, horror-struck, as a mobile suit fell onto a civilian building, killing everyone inside.
Then he was in space, attacking a deranged pilot 04. Wing Zero turned to face him, and Quatre's maniacal laughter rang in his ears.
Then he was in the Wing Zero, fighting for his life. He could hear Relena telling him to eject, but the controls were stuck. He pounded on them frantically, trying to escape as the gundam fell slowly towards the earth. He passed out, Relena's cry hardly heard.
Impact shook him awake. He staggered out of the cockpit, amazed that he was alive. He looked himself over, then recoiled.
He had turned nine years old.
His head hurt. He sat down on the ground, cradling his head as he waited for the pain to subside. He felt the wound there. He was losing a lot of blood. He wouldn't be alive for long.
He felt the blackness pulling at him, striving to pull him down into it. Lord, his head hurt.
Headlights shocked him out of his reverie. He looked up, seeing a couple coming towards him. He backed up, ready to flee, but his head prevented that.
"George, look! He's hurt. We've got to get him to the hospital!"
"Who are you, young man?"
Heero couldn't hold the blackness at bay any longer. It sucked him in, and he crumpled to the ground without a sound.
He awoke with a start. He'd fallen asleep without meaning to. Duo was dozing next to him. The IV had been removed.
He shook Duo awake. The pilot started, reaching for his gun. "Heero? Are you all right?"
"Yes. Your anti-brainwashing brought back all of my memories. Including the ones about being a gundam pilot." He hesitated. "I don't know how to act anymore. I need to be alone for a while. Thank you for helping me." With that, he vanished up the stairs.
Garrett waited at his house. Heero glared at him, knowing that he was no longer a friend.
"Where were you?" Garrett asked.
"The gundam pilots are smart. They refused to take me to their base. Instead, they took me to a house around here." Heero had decided that he needed to continue to act as if SAM still controlled him.
"It was abandoned. They've moved out."
"They haven't approached me. Do you know why not?"
"I'm more important to them. I piloted one of their gundams."
"The commander expects a full report."
"Very well." Heero went to his room and collapsed on the bed, utterly exhausted. He'd walked home, and it had taken a few hours. A good night's sleep would do him good. He had school, too.
"I think he's gone over to the other side," Garrett said into the phone he held.
"What makes you think that?"
"I don't know. He acts differently now."
"I thought as much from the report he filed. Your orders are to eliminate him and the gundam pilots."
"Yes, sir." Garrett hung up the phone. He was gonna enjoy this.
Heero turned to see Garrett coming towards him. "Hey! What's up?"
He failed to see the gun in Garrett's hand.
"I've got something to tell you." Garrett growled at a group of seventh graders crowding him out of the way. They scattered.
School was winding down. Exams were coming, and Heero was still bogged down with homework.
"What is it?" Heero asked, suddenly wary. He'd been training the past few weeks, ever since the pilots undid his brainwashing, and something was warning him.
The gunshot startled everyone. The courtyard was silent, attention focused on the two in the middle.
Heero glanced down. He'd dodged the bullet by mere millimeters. Garrett was grinning widely, aiming carefully this time. Heero lunged forward, catching the other off balance. The gun went off again. Heero felt pain in his right shoulder, but he ignored it, catching Garret by his right arm and driving him to his knees. He snatched the gun from his hand.
"Traitor!" Garrett hissed. He brought out his other hand. Another gun was there. Heero barely had time to release Garrett before the gun fired, hitting the space where his head had been seconds before. The two faced each other, weapons ready.
"If anyone's the traitor, it's you," Heero said.
"You've betrayed SAM!"
"They brainwashed me. And you! Garrett, don't you remember?"
Heero was aware of the entire school watching them, of the wound in his shoulder, and of his best friend, pointing the gun at him. They were at a stalemate.
Finally Heero lowered his weapon. "Fine then. Kill me. Get it over with." He threw the gun at Garrett's feet and turned around, head down, fists clenched.
He heard the weapon fire, but didn't feel any pain. Shocked, he whirled to face Garrett again.
"For resisting me, I get to kill five people," the other said, indicating the person he'd shot. Heero turned to look.
Another shot rang out, and Garrett hissed in pain as a bullet hit the gun in his hand, sending it flying.
"Nothing gives anyone the right to kill people," Duo said coldly from the parking lot. Deathscythe towered above him. Heero retrieved the guns and tossed them over to Duo.
"Duo Maxwell. Pilot 02. How nice of you to join us." Garrett straightened and pulled a detonator from his pocket. "Now, unless you surrender, I'll blow up the school campus and everyone on it."
"No you won't." Another gun fired, this time from the direction of the main school building. Heero caught the detonator as it fell, then turned to see who had joined the party.
Quatre had a weapon trained on Garrett. Sandrock was noticeably absent. "Duo, you weren't supposed to bring Deathscythe!"
"Sorry," Duo smirked, not sorry at all.
Heero pulled his gym shirt out of his bag and pressed it to his wound. "Can we get down to business, please?"
Quatre tossed down a pair of handcuffs. Heero cuffed Garrett and led him over to a now-present Trowa.
The police had arrived (their headquarters were right across the street, after all) and were staring at the giant robot in awe. And fear.
"Hey! What's happening over there!?" A policeman called.
A transport settled onto the ground, picking up all the gundam pilots minus Heero. The teen turned to the sheriff.
"The situation is under control. It was just a small grudge."
"We need to get you to the hospital, young man. And you need to answer some questions."
Quat: I'll drag Yami away from her other fic. Soon. Hey, this is kinda nice.
Kai: No Yami to drive us crazy.
Heero: I thought she'd never leave.
Yami: I need inspiration! Boredom sucks!
Quat, Heero, & Kai: *sweatdrop*
Quat: *sigh* Review, por favor.
Heero: Sil vous plait